SUNY Board Unanimously Votes To Close LICH

Following Thursday’s pro forma public hearing, the SUNY Board, as expected, unanimously voted Friday morning to shutter Cobble Hill’s 155-year-old Long Island College Hospital, at 339 Hicks Street. BHB will watch for updates throughout the day…

UPDATE: 5 p.m.: Brooklyn Eagle reports that SUNY Downstate Medical Center President John Williams says LICH could close in “as little as two weeks or as much as a few months,” during which time the state Health Department will review the closure plan. The state agency rarely, however, reverses a hospital’s decision to close, WJS notes.

UPDATE 11 a.m.: Eagle reports that Downstate Medical Center president Dr. John Williams told the board Friday that no one was to blame for the death of LICH. “This is unfortunately just one of the things we just have to do.”

* WNYC confirms closure.
* New York Daily News offers reports.
* Ongoing New York Times coverage
* Wall Street Journal weighs in.

BACKGROUND: SUNY acquired the financially troubled hospital in 2010, hoping it would be a “beneficial partner” to SUNY’s Downstate teaching hospital in East Flatbush. On Thursday, Dr. John Williams, president of the SUNY Downstate hospital system, formally recommended to the university board that LICH be closed. He said both hospitals have continued to lose money, especially LICH, whose occupancy rate is under 50%.

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  • Moni

    Of course the deal smells. Follow the money. Ignore Gerry. Isn’t he the lucky one never to have broken a bone or suffered a bleeding wound or heart attack or whatever. LICH, unlike Geryy, is much needed in this neighborhood

  • Gerry

    I am glad that you can see how fortunate I am few people have the number of good things here that we have. If I had an emergency I would get to NYU Langone FAST that hospital is very close to Brooklyn Heights. FYI LICH closed because no one in this neighborhood used LICH. Yes, its true no one (with other options) used LICH, and so LICH closed.

  • Gerry

    Rapper, songstress Sista Soulja sued LICH because the LICH maternity ward nurses had profiled her as a single mother due to her race. Somehow I can not see Brooklyn Heights type women and families as roomates of Sista Soulja who had been a “bad *ss rapper” back in the early 1990’s. And so these women choose a place like NYU, or North Shore/LIJ. I had my knee replaced at Hospital for Special Surgery and most of the other patients were from Canada they tell me socialist medicine stinks. If LICH had been a better hospital the people would have chose LICH and LICH would not have closed.

  • Gerry

    I am sorry that you had a hard time and I hope that you are feeling better soon. FYI North Shore/LIJ has a very high JHACO rate and LICH had a very low JHACO rate.

  • Gerry

    Rick, LICH had not been used and so they closed LICH. LICH was not making money. Medicaid reimbursments have been cut way down, the well insured use their options that did not include LICH. LICH closed because no one had gone there for treatment and those who landed in the ER soon left – with the insurance. Had LICH created a great revenue it would still be open.

  • Gerry

    If LICH had made money they would have kept LICH open.

  • ltap917

    If I had to go to the ER at LICH for an emergency I would not care if Sista Soulja was laying next to me in the next bed. Be careful how you sterotype ALL Brooklyn Heights women. Some of my doctors (two at Hospital for Special Surgery) are recognized as top docs. My former vascular surgeon is one of the best in the NE United States. So what? If I need help in an emergency I want to go to the nearest emergency room and that was the ER at LICH. Is your world so limited that you have to paint all of us with YOUR brush?

  • Gerry

    The Othmer Grant had been secured by Barbara Kohuth before Continum took over LICH.

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    You seem to have a vested interest in seeing that LICH is shut down. Ok – you don’t like it — so don’t use it. I need it and use it and I live in Brooklyn Heights. Can’t you live and let live?

  • Gerry

    It was not the LICH ER it had been LICH Maternity where Sista Soulja had been treated so poorly I mentioned Brooklyn Heights women I did not say ALL Brooklyn Heights women. I am glad that you like your doctors but I could care less who they are, where they work, etc. My world is not limited and i did NOT paint “all of us” with any brush. FYI this is America and I am given my freedom to hold my opinion and you know that.

  • Gerry

    I wish you good health not needing any hospital at all. I have no vested interest to see LICH closed. I/we are fortunate to be able to avoid LICH as do so many of our Brooklyn Heights neighbors.

  • Gerry

    The facts, the truth are contained in my comments. Its about money and LICH closed because LICH had not brought in enough money. To blame, marketing, public realtions, Medicaid cuts and affluent Brooklyn Heights people with options. You may eat your gun.

  • Save LICH

    I have a feeling all of the handshakes took place under the table before SUNY even announced it’s intention to seek a vote from the Board of Trustees.

  • disqus_Lx4zqmtAdD

    but which politico is going to be willing to take that on? At the public hearing, State Senator Adams suggested exactly the same thing – criminality. Wonder if he or anyone else will pursue that avenue or are they just throwing words around for effect..

  • disqus_Lx4zqmtAdD

    omg man LICH is NOT CLOSED. move on.

  • disqus_Lx4zqmtAdD

    LICH & Downstate chief Dr. Williams is a good friend of SUNY Board of Trustee chairman Carl McCall. He also has a very long term friend running another hospital in Brooklyn – The Brooklyn Hospital Center. Its’ CEO is Richard Becker, MD, a fellow alumnus with Dr. Williams of George Washington University Medical Center (anesthesiologists and hospital administrators together). Cuomo’s friend Jeffrey Sachs is also working with Dr. Becker as a consultant hired by TBHC. Dr. Becker has been lobbying both SUNY and the NYS Dept. of Health to close down his competitor – LICH. To increase revenues, he needs LICH’s catchment area of patients along with emergencies cases generated from the Barcley Center and the NYC waterfront development of parks, cruise lines, and tourist ferries facilities from Red Hook to DUMBO. Williams gets more money for the new University Hospital and his buddy Becker gets a healthier Brooklyn Hospital, but all at the expense of Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and other LICH patient populations. But #saveLICH the fight aint over till its over.

  • ab_bklyn

    Does no one remember that we have Brooklyn General close by in Fort Greene? It’s not the best but in an emergency it will suffice.

  • Harry.the.CAT

    They dont care about the people – everything is about money..we all pay through our noses already and have worked very very hard and many years for good good location, for hospitals nearby etc.. THE PEOPLES VOICES NEED TO BE HEARD!!!!!!

  • TeddyNYC

    It’s 1.6 miles, about 10-12 minutes if traffic is light. For most emergencies using ambulances, it’s probably close enough. However, it won’t be convenient for ER walk-ins from the area. Even more importantly, I read that both Methodist and Brooklyn Hospital are at capacity so the loss of the ER at LICH will have a negative impact on those two hospitals.

  • nyc_michael

    The History and Tragic Downfall of LICH – a 45 year personal perspective.

    I have just sat down with my mom and typed this out. I think she has an important and unique perspective on LICH (Long Island College Hospital) and it’s history.

    My mother works for LICH and has been a nurse there since 1968, non-stop. She immigrated here from the Philippines, recruited by LICH, due to a nursing shortage in NYC at the time.

    She was one of the first recruits, of what later turned to be hundreds from around the world.

    She has been there over 4 decades and has seen all the changes that have occurred over that span of time. These are her thoughts to the best of her knowledge.

    The Corruption and Greed that led to the current dire situation, and the immanent closing of LICH.

    She recalls LICH was doing OK for the most part until it was taken over by Beth Israel around 10 years ago.

    LICH was supposed to “merge” with Beth Israel, but due to unknown back room dealings – Beth Israel wound up taking over LICH (and fired LICH’s board of trustees).

    LICH used to own many buildings in Brooklyn Heights, she recalls. 10 Buildings, if not more.

    Some were used for Doctor residents, extended services and some were just rentals.

    Needless to say, they were vital to LICH’s prosperity, contributing services, revenue, and overall value.

    Beth Israel sold the surrounding properties that LICH owned, over the 10 year span they were in control.

    For all the millions made by Beth Israel over the these transactions, my mom can not recall a single improvement made to LICH.

    The money probably went to Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan.

    After essentially gutting LICH’s resources they also were lax at paying LICH’s bills, and handling their finances.

    I believe that why it looks like it hasn’t made any money in a long time.

    There is also the mysterious vanishing of millions of dollars from a variety of sources, including large sums donated by Donald Frederick Othmer, the famous American Intentor and Philanthropist, who one of LICH’s building is named after.

    She recalls there were also rumors of BI trying to close LICH as well.

    Around 2 years ago Beth Israel cut off LICH, after the Doctors tried to sue to get some of the money back.

    Downstate (a state run hospital) took over LICH, which was already in financial distress. My mom is not really sure how it happened, but a lot of it did not make sense since Downstate’s finances were not it very good shape either.

    Unless of course Downstate entire motive and plan was to close LICH and sell the property in the first place.

    Also, through some strange deal made, Beth Israel still does LICH’s billing, lab works, and computer system and LICH pays millions to Beth Israel a large sum to do it as well. It is beyond me why LICH can’t handle their own systems.

    Around $60 million was given to Downstate to save LICH from the the state. Once again my mom never noticed any improvements.

    It is very important to note that the real estate value of LICH is very desirable, due to it’s waterfront location and beautiful view of the New York Skyline.

    The Importance of LICH

    Throughout the past 4 decades, Long Island College Hospital has been one of the most reliable hospitals in the area.

    Through Nor’easter’s, Blizzards, 9/11, and even super storm Sandy, LICH has always remained open, often taking in patients from other hospitals.

    It is very close to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, which makes it very quick to get to from Manhattan, the new Barclay Center Stadium, as well as where the Queen Mary Cruise boat docks.

    LICH also handles overflow and emergencies from the nearby Cobble Hill Nursing home.

    Brooklyn Heights used to have a lot of elderly residents, but lately it has been the home to many young families.

    If there were any emergencies in that area, for any reason, LICH would be the fastest hospital to get to. Without it there it would be a nightmare to go to one of the further away hospitals.

    LICH is a teaching hospital and is renowned for it’s neuro science department.

    In conclusion

    It would be very sad to see LICH close. My mom is of retirement age, though she says she would have preferred to have retired in a few years, and on her own terms. LICH has been like a second home to her for nearly half a century.

    I personally think it is wrong to close the hospital due to the greed and mismanagement of a few. It will leave thousands unemployed and hurt the city I love so much. She feels bad for all the young doctors and nurses who will be left unemployed if LICH closes.

    What’s it going to be replaced with — more luxury condos? Like this city needs that.

    Other Interesting Facts about LICH.

    Founded in 1858. It is older than the Brooklyn Bridge by a good 30 years, though some native New Yorkers say they have the same “Birthday”.

    In 1873 it introduced the first emergency ambulance service in Brooklyn.

    The Polhemus Memorial Clinic, an eight-story 1897 tower that was part LICH until July 2008, is considered to be the first example of skyscraper hospital, anywhere in the world.

    LICH was famous for it’s accomplishments in regards to RENAL diseases.

    Dr. Cook, long before BI took over LICH was famous for neurology services.

    Dr. Cook was in charge of the department invented the nerve stimulator and patients from around the country would come to LICH for treatment

    Dr. Avram who was head of the Renal Department was one of the first doctors to invent the hemodialysis machine.

    LICH is located in Brooklyn Heights, one of Brooklyn’s best and attractive neighborhoods.

    Information sources:

  • Michael Kessel

    The History and Tragic Downfall of LICH – a 45 year personal perspective.

  • gbkm

    the whole full service hospital is needed too – not just the emergency room